MR BILL DARBON
General Background and Other Interests
Bill originates from Middlesex and was in the Police Service for 32 years, first in Buckinghamshire and later in Thames Valley, he served in various departments as a police officer and 10 years as a civilian support worker. He worked for one f the Oxford University Colleges till he retired in 2013 some of his spare time is now taken up as a Volunteer Driver for a local charity collecting people for hospital appointments etc. He lives near Witney, Oxfordshire and is member of the BCSS Oxford Branch were he has held a number of positions on the Branch Committee and is currently Chairman and Show Secretary, has an interest in wildlife in general particularly birds of prey.
Cacti & Succulent History
Interest in cacti and succulents started when he met his late wife Cathy. After they married, they started a joint collection in 1972 and joined the Society in 1974 and became active members of Oxford Branch. Encouraged by the late John and Joe Mullard, for a number of years they helped put on a Society display stand with others members at The Southport Flower Show under the direction of the late Joan Taylor. They were both on the organizing committees for the National Show and the subsequent Southern Area Shows at Kidlington. Bill has a mixed collection of cacti and other succulent plants in three separate Greenhouses, and as a judge he likes to try and grow a variety of different plants. His favourites are Haworthias, Mammillarias, miniature or small growing cacti, particularly Strombocactus and associated genera and Euphorbias. He has enjoyed the experience of visiting plants in the wild and hopes to continue this in the future. The above picture shows the family in the greenhouse. Gareth, who now lives in Nottingham and is also a National Judge of the society, crams his plants into a small greenhouse where he specialises in Turbinicarpus and Haworthias. Bill joined the Haworthia Society Committee in 2013 and now holds the back publications. He personally enjoys all aspects of the hobby, especially showing and judging, but nothing more that exchanging views and cultural experiences with other members.
Judging and participation in the Shows Committee
Always having been a keen exhibitor locally and at surrounding branches and at National Shows, Bill became interested in Judging after Cathy joined the Shows Committee in 2000. They attended many shows over this period of time and he attended his first judge’s course in 2004, qualified in both cacti and succulents in 2006 and joined the Shows Committee in 2007. His main reason for joining was to find out more about the organisation of showing and judging, so that he could encourage more members to exhibit their plants. Whilst on the committee he took over the distribution of the show stationery when Cathy became unwell and still does this role. He enjoys advising Branches on different aspects of showing and has spoken on this subject to other Branches. Bill took over the role of Show Secretary in 2017. He enjoys meeting the public and other members, talking about our hobby and is always pleased to encourage new members.
Photo: G Walker Teeside Branch